Heart Disease Patients Face Greater Risk of PTSD

Armen Hareyan's picture

Heart Disease

Heart attack patients, and most likely those with other forms of heart disease, run an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, says a new research review done in Denmark and the Netherlands.

This may lead to a vicious cycle, with the PTSD associated with heart disease harming the patient's future cardiac heath, according to the study in the current issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.


Among heart attack patients, about 15 percent develop the psychiatric disorder, according to review authors Helle Spindler of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and Susanne S. Pedersen, of Tilburg University, the Netherlands.

"PTSD has been shown to lead to impairments in social functioning, vitality, physical health and health status; increased psychological distress and adverse prognosis," write the researchers. Also, preliminary findings suggest that PTSD may heighten the risk of noncompliance with treatment.

The authors reviewed 25 studies conducted since 1980 that looked at PTSD after one of the following cardiac events: myocardial infarction (heart attack), sudden cardiac arrest, cardiac surgery, heart transplantation or congestive heart failure. The studies reported either an absolute number of PTSD cases among the patients or a prevalence rate